89.6% of Mainers favor mandatory background checks for all gun buyers. SMS Pan Atlantic Poll, Spring 2013
63.5% of Mainers support a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips holding more than 10 bullets. SMS Pan Atlantic Poll, Spring 2013
85% of Mainers favor mandatory background checks for all gun buyers (Mayors Against Illegal Guns). “That 85 percent of Maine residents want every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check speaks volumes about the changing public mood on guns,” said pollster Doug Schoen. “This margin is unlike any I’ve seen on this issue, and it marks a real sea change. Voters want their elected officials to fight gun violence, and after Newtown, they’re demanding it.”
69% of card-carrying NRA members agree that the Gun Show Loophole should be closed (according to conservative pollster Frank Luntz from his December 2009 poll) - no background check, no sale!
88% of Mainers surveyed in the fall of 2009 (Pan Atlantic poll) agree the Gun Show Loophole should be closed.
"Evidence demonstrates that background checks save lives. In the fourteen states that already require background checks for all handgun sales, gun trafficking is 48 percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for all handgun sales." Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, & Maria Bulzacchelli, “Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking,” Journal of Urban Health, July 2009.
"In 2011, of states with sufficient data, those that required background checks for all handgun sales had 17 percent fewer firearm aggravated assaults, controlling for population." Uniform Crime Reports, FBI, 2011. An aggravated assault is an unlawful attack with the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury and using a weapon or means of inflicting severe harm, including assaults or attempts to kill or murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and mayhem. Law enforcement agencies in 46 states and DC submitted sufficient data for analysis — NY, IL, HI, and MS did not.
Maine is the number one source for guns used in the commission of crimes in Massachusetts. 11% of guns used in those crimes come from Maine (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - 2008). Many guns are being traded for drugs or being purchased with drug money as runners come up the Maine Pike for illegal trafficing.
200-300 people fail background checks each year in Maine because they are criminals, have been found guilty of domestic violence, are mentally ill, or underage. Once rejected they can always purchase guns through sources like Uncle Henry's without the seller knowing they've already been denied a gun elsewhere (this is one area where the Gun Show Loophole comes into play in Maine).
Contrary to popular myth, Maine is not immune from firearm killings. According to CDC data from 2005 the Maine firearms death rate is higher than that in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey, and six other states.
Maine has a much higher suicide and domestic violence rate: the most recent data from the Maine CDC shows a suicide rate for the age 20 to 24 demographic that is 30% above the national average. Firearms account for more than 50% of suicide deaths. Suicide attempts with guns are fatal 85% of the time, but of those who survive an initial attempt, only 10% later commit suicide. Domestic violence in Maine generally is regarded as much higher than in other states although precise data is not available.
The unrestricted sale of guns in Maine has contributed to youth suicides, domestic violence deaths, hate crimes, and homicides here and across the Nation.
Up to 65% of deaths as the result of domestic violence are a result of the use of guns by intimate partners (Violence Policy Center).
More than 200 million guns are in civilian hands and 40% of guns are sold without background checks (National Institute of Justice, 1997).
For every time a gun is used in a home in a legally justifiable shooting, there are 22 criminal, unintentional, and suicide-related shootings (Brady Campaign).
Firearms are the second leading cause of death for children under 19 (after motor vehicle accidents) in the United States (Susan DeFrancesco, Children and Guns).
It is estimated that gun violence costs the United States more than 100 billion dollars annually in medical costs, lost productivity, mental health care, and emergency transportation (Cook, 2000).
A 1997 Study that examined the risk factors for violent death for women in the home found that when there were one or more guns in the home, the risk of suicide among women increased nearly 5x and the risk of homicide increase more than 3x. The increased risk of homicide associated with firearms was attributable to homicides at the hands of a spouse, intimate acquaintance, or close relative. (Violence Policy Center)